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It's time to do the timing belt and water pump on the '98 XC. Will I need any special tools at all? Cam retainers? Anything like that? Any basic tools to make the task a little easier.

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I just changed the timing belt on my '00 Volvo V70 GLT; no special tools needed though there are some uncommon tools that you probably won't find in your typical toolbox.

30mm socket to rotate crank and remove crank nut
T30 bit for screws in the plastic belt guard
Impact wrench, not absolutely needed but it will make your life much easier
Long 14mm wrench or serpentine belt tool like this (http://www.harborfreight.com/serpentine-belt-tool-kit-66344.html), again not absolutely needed but I couldn't get my belt on with a standard 14mm wrench. The space is too narrow for any sockets so you're not going to be able to use a breaker bar.
 
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